Twitter and super injunction "outers" in breach of libel laws

Twitter users who try to “out” celebrities who have supposedly taken out super injunctions, or wise cracks who try to make up stories are breaching libel laws, lawyers have said.

The warnings follow the news that a Twit is trying to make public celebrities who have supposedly taken out these super injunctions, despite many of the tweets being incorrect.

One example of this is the supposed romance of Jemima Khan and Jeremy Clarkson. The rumours on the site at the weekend was that the pair had taken out a super injunction preventing publication of “intimate” photos, which Jemima tweeted as “not true”.

She added yesterday that: “Apparently @InjunctionSuper has been set up by students having a laugh. Not v funny though if you’re someone’s wife.”

But while the pranksters think they are being funny, or clever to “out” these celebrities they could be moving to being in breach of libel laws and drag Twitter down with them.

A lawyer told TechEye: “The concept of libel is that the person who publishes it should be held accountable. In this case both Twitter and the students, who are claimed by Miss Kahn to have made it up, are both liable. Twitter because it hosts the claims and should be monitoring things, and the students for coming up with a complete lie.”

However, nailing them isn’t going to be easy. “Twitter has to ensure its members adhere to the rules. Publishing rules still apply to the internet but the problem here is that enforcement within this space is still very hard.

“Finding out the culprits is often harder – that is through domain names – but also proving that the users of this IP address were actually the ones who posted this is harder. They could for example claim that their network was hacked/piggy backed and they had no idea that this had been posted.”

Super injunctions are of course nothing new with high profile ones being in the media for a while now. MPs have waded into the row asking that they be made responsible over the courts for deciding whether or not these should be upheld, while others argue that these just shouldn’t be allowed.